The other evening, I was sitting on my couch watching Oprah's Lifeclass (or it might have been Super Soul Sunday - I can't remember because I watch them both). But the exact show is actually not relevant. Anyway, I was sitting there in bliss because I love learning. Even if I have already learned the lesson they are teaching on the show, I love to see other people in the process of learning. It's exciting! Gee, maybe that's why I became a professor, huh? :) #geekedout
But here's the sad reality. I was also sitting there thinking about how I used to read books a lot more than I do now. The only books I typically read are the non-fiction self-helpish / spiritual kinds. In other words, I don't do novels. Okay, let me confess. I did go through my Danielle Steel phase right after college, and I read the Fifty Shades of Grey series - but only to see what all the fuss was about (don't judge me! Lol). But that's about it. I guess I just see books as a learning tool, and fiction doesn't do much except exercise my imagination (not that there's anything wrong with that).
So, why don't I read much anymore? I could come up with a whole list of reasons - busy with raising kids, career, feeling like I've reached a saturation point sometimes with information. And those are all true. But if I'm really honest with myself, I have to admit that social media sucks up my time too (just Facebook, really). Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm the kind of person who posts 20 times a day and takes selfies at every turn. But I do like to 'see what everyone is up to' on Facebook. I never really added up how much time I spend doing that, but I'm sure it's more than I care to admit.
And here's a scary statistic based on research - the average person spends 3.5 hours a day on social media! Holy Batman!! That's crazy. Think about what we could all accomplish with that time if we didn't 'waste' it. I'm pretty sure I don't spend that much time on Facebook, but still. I think you get my point.
So that got me to thinking about why we should all probably scale back on social media. Here are some of my top reasons:
1. It gives you time to read a book and exercise your mind.
Whether it's a self-help book or a dirty novel, at least your're exercising your brain and imagination. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think that's probably better than posting selfies all day. Just saying.
2. It gives you time to spend with your family and friends.
I think a lot of people have lost the art of face-to-face conversation. I know adults who post on their siblings' walls instead of going out to dinner together (when they live in the same town). That's sad. And I think it's especially important to teach the younger generation that social media is actually not 'social.' But we adults have to model that behavior for them.
3. It means that you are living consciously.
One of the BIG messages that I teach in all my classes is to stop living unconsciously. In other words, take your blinders off and look at yourself. Why do you do what you do? If you just answered, "Ummm...I dunno," well then you are not living consciously. When I ask my kids that question and they give me the 'I don't know' answer, I always say, "Well if you don't know why you behave that way, then who does?!?!?" In other words have a reason for doing what you do. If you want to spend 3.5 hours on social media a day, that's cool. But at least know why you're doing it (relaxation? laughing at the complainers? entertainment? being nosy?).
So, does this mean I'm getting off Facebook? No. But I am definitely going to make sure that I take more time to read. If you are over the age of 25, try to think about what you did with your time before Facebook or Twitter sucked it away. Then get back acting like you are still in the 'Stone Age' - the days before social media.
I know we all live in a society where we worship technology, but maybe we should get back to the basics (don't get me started on the people lined up for 12 blocks and camping out for weeks just to get the new iPhone 6!). After all, was life really that bad before Facebook? Honestly, I think in a lot of ways, it was better.
Okay, next time I think I'm going to write about the iPhone 6 ... and oh boy do I have a lot to say about that ...
Until then, I'm going to go read a good book and ignore my 'non-iPhone' phone for a while ... I hope you do too!
Dr. Carol Morgan &
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